There must be gold in Tuscaloosa Alabama because there is no more dominant team in sports than the Alabama Crimson Tide. They have won 6, yes 6, of the last 12 national championships and have had 9 of the last 12 number one recruiting classes based on 24/7 sports calculations. Nick Saban has gone from a pro style offense that has relied on the running game and defense to having the most dominant offense in college football history in 2020. What is the secret? How does the greatest coach of all time continue to be so dominant? Well let’s take a look and see when it began and how Alabama has done it for so long.
Year after year, player after player, assistant coach after assistant coach, there has only been one constant during this time, Nick Saban. He has taken this program from average to extraordinary. He has evolved as the game as evolved. He continues to be one of the only programs with the ability to reload instead of rebuild. He also does all of this while having to do a full turnover with his staff every other year. No one is going to convince me otherwise that this man is a machine.
Not all coaches can do it alone though. When I mention that the staff turns over every year, it only gets better and more experienced. Going from a guy like Lane Kiffin to Steve Sarkisian to Bill O’Brien is absolutely insane. Defensive coordinators Kirby Smart and Jeremy Pruitt both went on to get other SEC jobs. Pete Golding might be the most senior member of Saban’s coaching staff and he has been only been there 3 years. This is a much different job than a school like Clemson who has had Tony Elliott there since 2015 and Brent Venables since the end of World War 2 (okay 2012, but you get the point). Clemson has a solid, stable staff you can predict will be around for a majority of a college career. Alabama has had 3 and will have a 4th offensive coordinator since Tony Elliott got hired.
Now, we can discuss the coordinators and hires till the cows come home, but we have to get into the meat and potatoes of college football, recruiting. As mentioned earlier, no one recruits better than Nick Saban and Alabama, but he cannot do it alone. He has two of the best recruiters in the country right now in Charles Huff and Jeff Banks. Now, I hear all of the skeptics saying “well Alabama recruits itself” and “who wouldn’t wanna go to NFL factory”? I want anyone that has never done this before to go out and attempt to get a 16-18 year old to commit to doing anything and have them not change their mind while others people are trying to convince them to do something different. I was the 16-18 year old at one point and I could not commit to much of anything during that time, more or less commit to a school I was going to spend 4 years at after high school. These guys go above and beyond to land these highly coveted recruits and without these guys, you have a great coach with good talent instead of elite talent.
Finally, there is one last major reason that Saban has been able to keep Alabama on top for this many years, support from the school and boosters. If you think the Crimson Tide have anything less than the absolute cream of the crop when it comes to facilities, then you would be sadly mistaken. From strength and conditioning to nutrition to the athletic training department, very few facilities in the world match what Alabama has at its disposal. Saban will always be the highest paid coach in the nation, as he rightfully deserves, but he will also always have any piece of equipment at his beck and call he will ever need. Cryogenic chamber, installed in 2015, the most well renowned sports surgeon in the world, Dr. James Andrews right up the road in Birmingham. A private jet named The Crimson A ready anytime its needed. Its tangible and intangible items like these that make the staffs job in Tuscaloosa so much more efficient. Its things like these that give the coaches a leg up in recruiting and player development. Most importantly though, it gives the greatest coach in the history of college football all of the tools necessary to stay on top of the college football mountain.